On his new record First Elephant, songwriter, composer, and vocalist Grant Swift laces together threads of softly psychedelic folk-rock, hook-drenched power pop, and rollicking jangle boogie. Anchored by Swift’s deft and intentional arrangements, the songs are elevated by his fluttering, delicate, and truly striking voice. Under The Radar Magazine writes, “Swift displays a deft hold on potent pop melody.”1
Swift is a New York City boy and the son of a preacher. Born in Manhattan, formed in the tri-state, and educated in the Bronx, he currently hails from Brooklyn. By deploying his eclectic training in Baroque and Classical music and drawing deftly from the palette of the R&B, Psychedelic Rock, Jazz, and Pop he played growing up, Swift crafts music that “brilliantly recreates a modern mashup sound” (Impose).2
While studying at Fordham University, Swift served as the Music Director of ICCA Semi-Finalists, The Fordham Ramblers (Fordham University’s original all-male acapella group). As he earned a full double major BA in Music Composition and Philosophy, Swift’s characteristically intricate vocal arrangements led the group to their first Quarterfinal placement. His award-winning performances as a singer, guitarist, and one-man band have earned him acclaim throughout the United States,3 and HuffPost called his previous musical project The Candy Apples4 one of “5 Must-See Indie Summer Concerts in NYC”.5
Swift is one half of the acoustic duo Mac/Glidden,6 and with longtime songwriting partner Andy McCarthy, wrote, performed and engineered Mac/Glidden’s debut psychedelic-folk-rock album, Fall Into The Dark, (2017.) Their music video for the song “Mountains,”7 directed and animated by lauded sculptor / filmmaker Laurie Berenhaus, was an official selection at Sidewalk Film Festival, Indie Memphis Fest, and Leeds International Film Festival, among others.
That year they had the great honor of being invited by the late, prodigious, two-time Emmy Award winning Music Director for Saturday Night Live, Katreese Barnes8 to perform in her home for her live stream concert series, Welcome 2 My House. Barnes wrote orchestral arrangements of Mac/Glidden songs for the concert and provided a full backing band.9, 10 Barnes said, “Mac/Glidden are keepers of the classic Music flame. It was a pleasure to work with them.”
While performing in March of 2020, Swift contracted the Alpha variant of SARS-CoV-2. He developed symptoms within 3 days of exposure and tested positive for COVID-19. During his 2.5-week in-home recovery, Swift wrote and recorded a 2-song album about his varying perspectives on the pandemic, Fear and Love in the Time of Corona, and produced a music video in New York City Parks for the second song, “Love (In the Time of Corona)”.11, 12 He is currently writing and recording the soundtrack for an upcoming iOS and Android video game.
The title of Swift’s new record, First Elephant, refers to the parable of the Blind Men and An Elephant, in which a group of blind men, encountering an elephant for the first time, try to describe what it is like while each only observing distinct parts of the elephant. They experience and describe the elephant in vastly different ways. Each of them is partly right, but all of them draw wrong conclusions.